Cavs Center Isaiah Hartenstein Declines Player Option

Cavaliers center Isaiah Hartenstein has declined the $1.8 million option on his contract and will enter free agency, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.Isaiah Hartestein

Hartenstein, 23, is 7-foot-0 and arrived in March in a trade with the Nuggets for center JaVale McGee.

Hartenstein played the best basketball of his career with the Cavs, averaging 8.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in 16 games, admiring relieving starter Jarrett Allen when given the opportunity. Allen will also be a restricted free agent, though the Cavs are expected to match any offer he receives from a rival team.

Rumors earlier this summer suggested Hartenstein might opt out to sig a much larger deal overseas, but agent EJ Kusnyer told Hoops Wire such talk is “completely false.”

As it stands, Hartenstein is expected to draw interest from rival teams that should surpass the $2.2 million qualifying offer the Cavs can extend to him by Aug. 1. By extending the QO, the Cavs can match any offer Hartenstein receives.

“So far everything has been good,” Hartenstein told Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com after the season. “Can’t really say what’s going to happen in the future, but I hope we can renegotiate something this summer and I can grow with the young guys. I think that would be a good experience. I feel comfortable here in Cleveland.”

Bottom line: A lot of what the Cavs decide to do in the draft and free agency will determine whether or not Hartenstein returns. He is expected to draw interest from the Hornets, Mavericks and Timberwolves, among others.

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